Spouse or Child of a Japanese National

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Foreign nationals who are married to a Japanese national or who were born as a child of a Japanese national, or those who were adopted to a Japanese national can acquire visa status called "Spouse or Child of a Japanese National" (hereafter referred to as "Spouse/Child of Japanese") in order to reside in Japan.

Those who obtain Spouse/Child of Japanese visa status are allowed to work without limit. In addition, it is quite easier for them to be applicable to Permanent Resident status.

It would be advantageous to obtain Spouse/Child of Japanese since you can engage in working any types of job in Japan. However, it is not always necessary to change your current visa status to Spouse/Child of Japanese in case you have been living in Japan obtaining work related visa and you are not willing to change it to Spouse/Child of Japanese. If you will continue to engage in the same activity under your current visa status after your marriage, you can keep it without changing your visa status.

In case Spouse/Child of Japanese visa holder got divorced from his/her Japanese spouse or his/her Japanese spouse was deceased.

In case that you obtained Spouse/Child of Japanese visa status as a spouse of a Japanese national but you got divorced or were separated by death from a Japanese spouse, you need to report your divorce or spouse’s death to the Immigration Office within 14 days after the event occurs.

In this situation, you are obtaining Spouse/Child of Japanese but are not a spouse of a Japanese national any more – so you will need to change your visa status to relevant one if you would like to continue to reside in Japan after your divorce or your spouse’s death. Applicable visa status would be Long-term Resident or any other visa status depending on your situation >> LIST of VISA STATUS.

If you are not applicable to any visa status, you will need to leave Japan – in that case, the Immigration Office will grant you Designated Activities visa status (the period of stay will be one month in general) for preparation of departure from Japan.

If you stay over 6 months in Japan without reasonable grounds after the event occurs, you are subject to be revoked your visa status. We recommend to consult a professional for your case as soon as possible (or in advance of the divorce).

Your visa status would not be revoked in case you are applicable to the following;

  • You are suffering from domestic violence (DV) and you need to evacuate or to be protected temporarily.
  • You are currently living separately from the Japanese spouse for the support of your child but the spouse still keeps supporting you and your child.
  • You are staying outside Japan obtaining Re-entry Permit (or Special Re-entry Permit) to look after sick/hospitalized relatives in your country.
  • You and your spouse are in the middle of divorce mediation or divorce proceedings.

BASIC REQUIREMENTS

Regardless of which visa status you will apply for, you need to satisfy the criteria first.
>> BASIC CRITERIA of visa status

You have to be applicable to either one of (A) – (C) below.

(A) Spouse of a Japanese national

This is applicable to a foreign national who is legally (both in your country and in Japan) married to a Japanese national. In addition, your marriage has to be “substantial”; you and a Japanese spouse must be found as a married couple residing and make living together, helping and supporting each other with a good relationship.

If you and your Japanese spouse are not considered as a married couple legally, substantially and socially , the immigration office will not grant you a Spouse visa – fake marriage is not allowed.

  • Common-law marriage (de facto marriage) is not applicable.
  • You and your Japanese spouse have been in legal marriage in each country (in your country and in Japan).
  • You cannot obtain this visa status based on the past marriage to a Japanese national. You and a Japanese spouse must be "in the state of being married" at the time of application.
  • Unless there are reasonable grounds, husband and wife must reside, support and make living together and as a married couple.

(B) Adopted Child (by Special Adoption; 特別養子) of a Japanese national

This is applicable to a child adopted by a Japanese national pursuant to the provisions of Article 817-2 of the Civil Code of Japan.
This adoption is so called “Special Adoption (特別養子)”, which establishes the parent-child relationship separating from the biological parents according to judgement of the Family Court (家庭裁判所).

(C) Child of a Japanese national

This is applicable to a foreign national who is biological (both legitimate and illegitimate) child of a Japanese national. Not including adopted child which doesn’t fall under (2) above.

Also, :

  1. Father or mother was a Japanese national at the time of the child’s birth.
  2. Father was deceased before the child was born, and the father was a Japanese national at the time of death.
  3. Father or mother was renounce the Japanese nationality after the child was born.

It doesn’t matter whether the child was born in Japan or not.
It is not applicable in case that the father or mother obtain Japanese nationality after the child was born (the father/mother is not a Japanese at the time of the child’s birth).

[Remarks]
Regarding a minor child (up to 19 years old) who was acknowledged by the father/mother (excluding a child who was a Japanese national previously), the child can obtain Japanese nationality in case that the father/mother who acknowledged the child was a Japanese at the birth of child and either one of below;

  • the father/mother is still a Japanese national, or
  • the father/mother was a Japanese national at the time of death.

PROCEDURES

In case you are currently residing outside Japan yet or you are staying in Japan as a temporary visitor:
>> COE Application

In case you have been in Japan under specific status and holding Residence Card already:
>> Change of Visa Status

BASIC REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

You are required to prepare documents which certify that the contents of the application are true and correct. Necessary documents are varied depending on the situation of each applicant and the host person, however, it shall be as follows:

In case of Spouse of a Japanese national

(1)Application form
(2)Portrait Photo (H 4cm x W 3cm)
(3)COE application only: envelope with necessary stamps.
(4)Application for change only: the original of passport and Residence Card (在留カード).
(5)Certificate of Family Register (戸籍謄本) of the Japanese spouse.

  • In case that the marriage is not stated on the certificate yet, Certificate of Acceptance of Marriage Report (婚姻届受理証明書) is also required.

(6)Marriage Certificate or relevant official document issued by the authority of the applicant’s country.
(7)The Japanese spouse’s Tax/income Certificate and Tax payment Certificate for individual inhabitant tax (住民税の課税・所得証明書および納税証明書).
(8)Letter of Guarantee signed by the Japanese spouse.
(9)The Japanese spouse’s Certificate of Residence (住民票の写し).

  • All the members in the same household must be listed.
  • No omission except the items related to “My number”.

(10)Snapshots

  • Including several photos which are taken together with the spouse or each family.
  • Photos at the wedding, marriage ceremony and travel of each country are also effective.

(11)Questionnaire (You can download from the website of the Immigration Office)

In case of Child/Adopted Child of a Japanese national

(1)Application form
(2)Portrait Photo (H 4cm x W 3cm)
(3)COE application only: envelope with necessary stamps.
(4)Application for change only: the original of passport and Residence Card (在留カード).
(5)Certificate of Family Register (戸籍謄本) of the Japanese parent.
(6)Documents certifying the birth.

  • In case of being born in Japan: Certificate of Acceptance of the Birth (出生届受理証明書) or Certificate of Acceptance of Acknowledgement (認知届受理証明書)
  • In case of being born in outside Japan: Birth Certificate or Acknowledgement Certificate issued by the country the applicant was born.

(7)In case of Special Adoption (特別養子):either of the following,

  • Certificate of Acceptance of the Special Adoption (特別養子縁組届出受理証明書)
  • Copy of Judgement and Certificate of Decision regarding the special adoption issued by the Family Court of Japan. (日本の家庭裁判所発行の養子縁組にかかる審判書謄本および確定証明書)

(8)Supporter’s Tax/income Certificate and Tax payment Certificate for individual inhabitant tax (住民税の課税・所得証明書および納税証明書).
(9)Letter of Guarantor signed by the Japanese parent.

NOTE

  • Any supporting documents to prove the eligibility for the visa status etc. should be provided based on the situation.
  • All the documents written in foreign languages need to attach translation into the Japanese language.
  • Additional documents may be required during the screening at the Immigration Office after submitting the application.
  • Any certificate of Japanese authorities (Tax/Income Certificate, Certificate of Residence, Certificate of Company Register etc.) has to be the one issued within 3 months before the date of application.

PERIOD OF STAY

Each visa status has the expiration date – you can stay in Japan under the visa status during the specific period stated on Residence Card issued by Immigration Office. Period of stay shall be decided by Immigration Office depends on the applicant’s circumstance, and it shall be either of 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, 6 months or designated period granted by the Minister of Justice (up to 5 years). The period of stay is granted by the Immigration Office based on each case and situation.

In case you wish to extend the period of stay granted, you may apply for Extension of Period of Stay before the expiry date.
>> EXTENSION OF PERIOD OF STAY (VISA RENEWAL)

In case you would like to travel outside Japan temporarily under the visa status.
>> RE-ENTRY PERMIT

Spouse or Child of Japanese visa holders are exempted from the “10-year residence rule” to apply for Permanent Residence.
>> Permanent Residence

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